I don’t like being a stay-at-home mom. There. I said it.
So many moms gush about how much they love staying home with their kids, how they’ve dreamed of it since they were little girls. I envy those women. And I feel awful, because I am not on the same page.
Reading children’s books, watching children’s shows and movies, learning and practicing things like colors and numbers . . . it’s mind-numbing at times. Yes, it’s extremely rewarding to see my child learn and grow. I can’t tell you how many teeny tiny things I’ve proudly announced to my husband that our daughter has learned or said while he was at work. But the process of getting there is monotonous.
When I first decided to stay home with our daughter until she started school, I imagined being almost like a preschool teacher to her. I would look up crafts and projects for us to work on that were developmentally appropriate. I would teach her letters and numbers using cute flashcards. But once I got started, I realized I didn’t actually like or enjoy any of those things.
I take my daughter to story times at the library, classes and play times at Gymboree, and any free or cheap local activities—free movies over the summer, carnivals, petting zoos, you name it! But I never feel very excited to go. In fact, I distinctly do NOT like going to story time. But I know it’s great for my daughter’s development, and that she loves getting out with other kids and trying new and different things, so I take her to everything I can find.
I like drawing with my daughter and helping her to act out movies with stuffed animals . . . for about 30 minutes. Then I kiss and hug her and encourage her to keep playing while I pick up around the house or do a little writing. I’m not the type of mom who likes or wants to play one-on-one all day long.
I don’t work out as often, and don’t wear anything trendy or cute or flirty most days. Comfort is the name of the game when your plans for the day include having your hair brushed by your toddler using a plastic toy fork.
And yet . . . my daughter will only be this age once. That knowledge causes me to cherish every single moment of every action-packed, exciting day, as well as every monotonous day spent with her. I miss these days before they’re even gone, with the full understanding of just how precious this time with her is.
The fact is that even though I miss the challenge of working at a more traditional job, solving complex issues and actually meeting with real live people, I do not want to work full-time unless and until she’s in school full-time. I don’t want to work eight hours a day and commute another hour, only to enjoy a few rushed hours with her before her 7:30 bedtime. I would be jealous of anyone else who got to spend these boring days with her. It would feel as if they were somehow stealing the time I want, stealing the role I want . . . but don’t want.
The truth is, staying home with my daughter is the best thing for our entire family. I get to be a part of nearly every moment of her few precious years at home. I have the privilege of helping to shape her character and her mind.
Because we’re able to stay in our own home, my husband, who works from home, can visit with his daughter during breaks and lunch. He can occasionally enjoy a tiny visitor bursting through his office door, singing Twinkle, Twinkle so very wrong and off-key. And because I can take care of most of the housework while I’m home and watching our daughter, my husband and I don’t have the stress of trying to knock out housework and errands and spend quality time with our daughter within two or three evening hours. We’re enjoying more balance and peace in our lives.
It’s totally OK that I don’t like being a stay-at-home mom. It’s not my dream and not even really my “thing”. I don’t have to love watching cartoons, learning colors, or playing pretend all day. We all have different personalities and preferences. Not loving staying at home doesn’t mean I don’t love my daughter.
I don’t like being a stay-at-home mom. But I’m cherishing every moment with her and creating a more balanced and peaceful atmosphere in our home. I’m 100 percent available every time that little voice calls, “Mommy!” And that’s all that really matters.
Originally published on the author’s blog